Acute Otitis Externa (OE) (Antimicrobial)


First use analgesia.

Cure rates similar at 7 days for topical acetic acid or antibiotic +/- steroid.

See formulary note on choice of preparation Drugs acting on the ear.

If cellulitis/disease extending outside ear canal, start oral antibiotics & refer to exclude malignant OE.

Patient information

NHS Inform

For glossary of terms see Glossary.

Drug details

First line

Optimise analgesia – a warm damp flannel held against the ear may help

Second line

Acetic acid 2% 1 spray three times daily

7 days

Third line

Neomycin sulphate with corticosteroid 3 drops three times daily

7 days min to 14 days max

Last reviewed: 28/09/2023

Next review date: 28/09/2026

Author(s): Antimicrobial Management Team.

Approved By: TAM Subgroup of ADTC

Reviewer name(s): Alison Macdonald, Area Antimicrobial Pharmacist.

Document Id: AMT148